Bloustein undergraduate students experience health policy in action

October 21, 2014

Thirteen students from the Bloustein School’s undergraduate Addictions Policy course, taught by Bloustein part-time lecturer Steven Liga, had the unique opportunity to see the concepts discussed in the course come to life on Thursday, October 9.

The group began the day at the offices of the Advocacy & Management Group in Trenton, NJ, where they met with registered lobbyist Jessica Frasco. The meeting was an eye-opening experience for the students, as they learned the role of a lobbyist from a lobbyist. Ms. Frasco gave students the “real deal” explanation of how laws are actually passed, as opposed to “perfect world” scenarios typically taught. The students came away with the understanding that all causes, including those most noble, benefit from skilled negotiators to plead their cases before the legislature.

Following the meeting, the students were invited to attend Gov. Chris Christie’s press conference at Catholic Charities Mental Health and Recovery Center in Trenton, NJ, which announced the creation of a task force aimed at fighting and preventing drug addiction in New Jersey. Created by executive order, the Facing Addiction Task Force consists of representatives from multiple government departments and other notable figures, including former Gov. Jim McGreevey. It is charged with leading the administration’s response to the current opiate overdose crisis in New Jersey.

At the conclusion of the press conference, Gov. Christie took a few minutes to discuss the role of the new task force with the Rutgers students. In addition to expressing his interest in their coursework, he encouraged them to continue advocating for those struggling with substance use disorders.

The group returned to the Capital to attend that day’s Senate Health Committee hearing on nine of the unprecedented 21 bills introduced in September to address the state’s opiate overdose crisis. The bills proposed would create new policies ranging from requiring all physicians to participate in the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to requiring physicians to inform patients of the potentially addictive properties of opiate medications at the time of prescription.

During the committee hearing, the students were recognized by Health Committee Chairman Senator Joe Vitale, who has visited theAddictions Policy class every semester. The students were also able to see their instructor leading by example, as Mr. Liga was called to testify on behalf of a bill that would require all substance abuse prevention taught in New Jersey schools to be evidence-based. All bills presented were released from committee by nearly unanimous vote.

At the conclusion of the, the students returned to New Brunswick to attend class, where they discussed the whirlwind day of experiencing policy creation from multiple perspectives, as well as launching new discussions related to the field of addictions policy.

*******

Steven Liga is a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Licensed Social Worker, Certified Prevention Specialist, and Certified Clinical Supervisor. He has been an advocate for those suffering from the effects of substance use disorders for over twenty years. He currently serves as the CEO of the local chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and has been teaching for the Bloustein School for nearly ten years, where he helped create the country’s first undergraduate certificate program in Addictions Prevention. Mr. Liga was awarded the Part-time Lecturer Appreciation Award by the Bloustein School in May of 2013.

 

Recent Posts

Heldrich Report: NJ’s Energy-Efficiency Workforce Needs

New Jersey's Energy-Efficiency Workforce Needs, Infrastructure, and Equity Assessment New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Energy Master Plan and Executive Order 315 set a goal to reduce fossil fuel usage to 100% clean energy by 2035. The Executive Order also called for...

Shaul Picker Receives 2024 Mortensen-Voorhees Award

Shaul Picker is the 2024 recipient of the Mortensen-Voorhees Award for Achievement in Transportation Studies. This award is granted annually to the highest-achieving student with a concentration in transportation at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Urban Planning and...

NJSPL – Key Insights from Early Offshore Wind Implementation

By Jessica Parineet Offshore wind development is in its early stages in the United States, with just under one gigawatt (GW) of utility scale capacity constructed. State decarbonization goals have catalyzed industry progress thus far, however the Biden administration...

EJB Talks: Political Update with Stuart Shapiro and Amy Cobb

Analyzing Trump's Guilty Verdict and the 2024 Election Outlook Stuart Shapiro welcomes back Amy Cobb MPAP '18 for a political update in the final EJB Talks episode of the spring 2024 season. They discuss the potential consequences of Trump's guilty verdict for...

Racial composition of road users, traffic citations, and police stops

Significance This study pioneers in mapping the racial composition of roads. Our findings highlight a disproportionate rate of citations for moving violations among Black drivers through both speed camera enforcement but more so via police stops, challenging the...

Upcoming Events